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Old Baptist Church
"Top Meeting"

Rev William John Tomkins
In 2010 we were given a copy of the Book:
"Rushden Park Road Baptist Sunday School
Work and Workers of a Hundred Years 1810-1910"
by Herbert Lack (one of the Superintendents)

Inside this book there are several newspaper clips and a letter from Dr Williams's Library to Rev W J Tomkins:

Dear Sir,
In Dr John Evans' List of Dissenting places of worship 1715 I find:-
Rushden near Higham Ferrers
Preacher Daniel Hefford
Lay preacher
The congregation is marked "I" (i.e. Independent)
the numbers of members is not given.
Josiah Thomsons' list in 1772 gives at Rushden:-
One Congreg. Church & one Minister
One Baptist Church & one minister
but no ministers names or other particulars.
Yours very truly
Francis Hy Jones

Rev William John Tomkins came to Rushden in 1885 and was minister here for twelve years. During that time he saw the village grow threefold from 4,000 to 12,000 inhabitants, and the church membership grew too.

When Rev Tomkins was trying to establish the origins of the church, he wrote to Dr Williams' Library for information.

The Old Church Book starts in 1723, but the letter of reply gives an earlier date of 1715.

In 1898 the Rev Tomkins left Rushden, for Quorn in Leicestershire, and a Farewell Tea was arranged.

Rev W J Tomkins
Rev W J Tomkins

His youngest son, Bernard Tomkins, was a musician.
Rev W H Tomkins
Rev W H Tomkins
William Henry Tomkins, his eldest son, also trained as a minister at the Pastor's College from 1897 to 1901.
11 April 1902 - Northampton Mercury

Equally tragic is the death of the Rev. W. J. Tomkins, till recently pastor of the Baptist Church at Rushden. Mr. Tomkins never recovered from the shock of his wife's funeral, which took place on Thursday last, at which he had a paralytic ……

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